Villa Maria dedicated a plaque at the softball field in honor of Mr. Al Tegler, longtime Villa Maria assistant softball coach. Mr. Tegler was a beloved figure and fixture at the field from 1991 to 2010, coaching generations of players, including current team coach Nikki Hartshorn ’91.
Al Tegler was a proud graduate of both St. Joseph’s Prep and St. Joseph’s University. At one point in his career he served on the board of both schools. Al Tegler was known to many in our Villa community long before he became a softball coach. He was a loving husband of a Villa grad, Janet Bruder Tegler ’61. Many knew him as a dad who won the Father/Daughter dance contests or as the dad who sang with the Revelers at the dance. The folks in the Villa community from SS Simon and Jude knew him as the man who was always in church. He was a daily communicant who also served as the sacristan, usher, and the guy who could greet you and make you feel welcome.
“Al was the embodiment of a servant leader,” says Kathy McCartney, Director of Advancement and a former Villa softball coach. “A servant leader is one who puts the needs of the group ahead of his own. He did that as he raised his six children and continued to model that for his 22 grandchildren. As the softball coach, he brought passion and joy to every single practice and game. He taught his players that the love of the game and camaraderie with teammates is much more important than winning. He just knew how to have fun and to make sure everyone around him did as well.”
“Coach Tegler was the type of coach who truly made every player look forward to practice. “His enthusiasm, humor, and love for Villa Maria was contagious and made us all prod to wear the uniform. He was the kind of coach you wanted to work hard for. Coach Tegler knew the key to getting the most out of us Villa girls was water ice, so he took us on countless trips to Rita’s. He could sense when girls were struggling or having a rough day and he always tried to make it better. I will never forget on practice sophomore year when I was having a particularly difficult day in school and it carried over to practice. Mr. Tegler picked up on it right away, pulled me aside and told me “don’t harp on things you can’t control. Focus on where you are in the moment and enjoy every minute of it.” Although my days of playing softball are long over, I carry his words of advice with me today. When I am having a stressful day at work, I remember not to dwell on the things I can’t change and try to live in the moment. I believe that a coach has made an indelible mark on his players lives if his words are still echoing in a player’s head years later. When I think back to Villa softball, I always picture Coach Tegler, his contagious laugh and bright smile.”
Kelly Anthony ’12
I had the honor of being both coached by and coaching with Mr. T. His love of softball was infectious. As an athlete and a coach under his mentorship, I gained knowledge and appreciation for the sport. While coaching at Villa, he would come and quietly help me position players and develop situational strategies to keep our opponents on their toes. He truly enjoyed being on the sidelines and watching the games. I will forever have fond memories of him and my father together on the player’s bench sharing stories and advising me to victory. Although he will be forever missed his advice and his legacy will never be forgotten.
Claire Thomas Emplit ’96
“Coach Tegler was my softball coach when I was a student at Villa. I learned three things about sports from Coach that I still use as a college coach today. I learned to enjoy what you’re doing. He had a smile that could light up a room and he took so much joy in celebrating our successes. Also I learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be successful. I made a double play once but was down because my throw bounced on the ground. Coach said “smile, we haven’t made a double play in 10 years” (keep in mind this was JV softball) he then gave me a huge high five. Lastly, I know to always be the first to the car to ride shotgun…we loved riding in his “Villa” convertible to the field.”
Mandy Pennewell ’05